I wear dresses 364 days of the day, so of course I’m wearing pants on the first day of a month dedicated to dresses. I’m nothing if not an obnoxious contrarienne.
Seriously, though – today is the first day of Dressember, wherein participants wear dresses for a month to raise money for the International Justice Mission. A few of my blogger friends are really committed to this, and that’s great! I even did it myself last year. But this year I will be abstaining, and here’s why.
The International Justice Mission stands against “the commercial sexual exploitation of children, forced labor slavery, illegal detention, police brutality, and illegal land seizure”. I have nothing but respect for these goals, and police brutality is especially topical. If you consider donating to IJM, however, you should know that their anti-trafficking efforts often leave consensual sex workers caught in the crossfire. I do not doubt their good intentions, but they come from a perspective that sees sex work very differently than I do and too often conceptualizes all sex workers as victims.
I do not begrudge anyone’s participation in Dressember. No charity is perfect, and everyone weighs their values differently. If ending trafficking, in the aggregate, is of higher priority to you than the protection of sex workers, that is okay. We all triage our activism. From my perspective, however, it’s not worth it.
That’s why this year I will be collecting funds for the International Union of Sex Workers. I’ll have a gofundme page up within a few days; please consider donating. No matter your moral position on sex work, I think we can all agree that the women and men engaged in it deserve their agency respected and equal protection under the law.
If you wish to donate to Dressember, please direct your funds to my fellow blogger Kristina’s campaign. I plan to do so myself as well. I do believe that the IJM, on the whole, does important work. But it’s vital that we balance it out with attention to the populations they neglect.